Newhaven, Lewes and District Mencap has gone through many transitions since the original Society at Newhaven began.

The original Newhaven Society was started in 1965 by a group of Parents and friends of young people with learning disabilities and difficulties from the local area. In the very beginning the group of parents and their children used to meet up in their own homes every week to encourage them to mix socially. The bond between the society and its members has continued over the years.

Riverside Hall is wholly owned by our charity, and has been the venue for the social club since the 1960’s when the hall belonged to British Rail, and was rented by our society. During the 1980’s the hall was purchased by the society – and the charity and club was run by a group of totally dedicated people, consisting of the original group of parents and many helpful and generous people in the local community. During the many years that the above group ran the charity, they contributed greatly towards the setting up, furnishing and running of local residential homes for people with learning disabilities. The current committee and membership are indebted to the ‘Pioneer Families’ and their colleagues for their success and dedication to making people’s lives happier over many years.

From October 2009 the society incorporated the name of Lewes in our title as the old Lewes & District Mencap was being disbanded. Since then Newhaven, Lewes & District Mencap has welcomed members coming from the Lewes area and as far as Eastbourne and Brighton. We have over 100 members in our club who continue to enjoy the club nights on Fridays, where we have a variety of events going on – from Bingo, themed musical evenings and games evenings to musical entertainment, sometimes provided by ‘Elvis’!

In addition to “Club Evenings” our members enjoy attending our Parties, Discos and Outings. The society raises funds by holding a Summer Fair and Christmas Fair each year. Other fund-raisers are Coffee Mornings, table-top or Jumble sales and occasional entertainments which are open to the local community, as well as club members.

We consider that our hall is a valuable asset to the local community as well as to our members, and Riverside Hall is available for hire to local groups and families.   For hall-hire enquiries click on ‘Hire Our Hall’ on the Menu above to telephone or message us for availability. 

Short History of Riverside Hall

Riverside Hall was built in the very early years of the 20th Century as a place of worship. It was used as a “Mission for Seamen”, and in war-time was used by troops before they were transported across the channel to fight. The hall itself has altered over the years as it has been adapted to suit its occupants of the time.